Thompson sentenced to life without parole

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COLUMBIA - A Columbia man has been sentenced to life in prison with out the possibility of parole at a sentencing hearing Monday.

James Thompson was convicted of first-degree murder after a week long trial in January. Thompson hired a hit man to kill his friend, Brian Daniels, in April 2013. 

Prosecutors called several witnesses during the trial, including police detectives, a bank teller, pawn shop owner, mail carrier, two ADT security technicians, and the ex-girlfriend of Christoper Hurt, a friend of James Thompson. 

The defense called five witnesses, including Thompson, who testified for several hours in his own defense. 

Judge Christine Carpenter heard the case.

At sentencing, Daniels' half sister, Linda VanBibber, spoke on behalf of the Daniels family. She described him as loving, and mentioned his IQ of 145, and his artistic abilities. 

Following his sentencing, Thompson asked for a new trial, believing that his defense was inadequate. Thompson said in the 21 months he was held before trial, his defense only met with him eight times. He went on to claim that his defense did not finish going through his discovery, and that he was going to prison because the Missouri defense system failed him. 

He also stated his family was looking into having his defense attorney disbarred. 

The court rejected Thompson's appeal. 

VanBibber said following the hearing that the state of Missouri was now safe from Thompson.

"I think that today's sentencing will protect the families in the state of Missouri, because if this man had been allowed to walk free he would of had no compulsion against doing this again," VanBibber said. 

Following sentencing, Thompson was escorted out of the courtroom.